How Speaking Up For His Teammates Helped This Budding Hotelier, Who Would Have Been A Lawyer


At 20 and on the verge of choosing a career, Goa-based Reez Cabral had two roads before him.
One was to choose law and don the black robes of a lawyer. The other was to choose a relatively less trod path which led to the hospitality industry.

When Reez, 24, now looks back, at that forked road which life confronted him with, there is an air of satisfaction and a sense of gratitude for his alma mater, which taught him his hospitality skills and nurtured his ability to speak up and speak out, as an articulate lawyer would, when it mattered professionally. A Food and Beverage supervisor at the Cezar Ritz Colleges in Switzerland, Cabral is now taking gargantuan steps towards his hospitality dream. He also provides practical and theoretical training for students in F&B services. For the young lad, pursuing his dream in a country like Switzerland has not only helped him learn heaps about his profession but also led to his overall growth as a member of the industry. The Swiss experience has showed him the independence he craved for once upon a time. He says, “Here you meet people from all walks of life and you’re introduced to diverse experiences. I travel on long weekends and visit neighbouring cities and mountain ranges, ticking things off my bucket list as I go. I plan on living here for a few more years as the quality of life is good.”

“Hospitality wasn’t my first choice as I was studying law, but it turned out to be the right one. I opted to be a part of the hospitality team for a college event and that was the time it struck me. I knew how to speak well, I was courteous, coordinated and determined which are all traits you need to inculcate in the industry. After hearing the same feedback from multiple teachers and peers, I realised that I was cut out for the hotel profession,” reminisces Reez.

A recent alumnus of the V. M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education (VMSIIHE) which is located in the idyllic village of Raia in South Goa, Reez now has enough experience in the field of hotel management to comment on what’s needed to get a foot in into the industry. He honed his skills at leading luxury resorts, namely the Marriott Hotels, The Great Southern Killarney of Ireland, and Cesar Ritz Colleges in Switzerland. After substantial experience in the cut-throat industry of hospitality, the would-be lawyer, came to realise that keeping mum simply wasn’t the way to go.

VMSIIHE is well-known for instilling discipline – which is of pivotal importance in the hospitality industry – in its students. According to Reez, punctuality, courtesy, respect, level-headedness, hard work and perseverance go a long way in making a career in hospitality successful. “I was always an opinionated kid. I always felt the need to speak up and sometimes, my delivery was quite harsh which was what landed me in soup. The faculty made me understand that there was a way to go about a certain situation. Speaking up is important, but we need to understand when that can cross the line and trespass into the territory of
back-answering,” says Reez. Criticism isn’t meant to be taken personally, especially in hospitality, he says.

Over the course of the past few years, Reez has successfully brought about many positive changes in the management of the hotels he worked in. When you’re a part of a team, it is essential that you understand an obstacle and come up with a solution to combat. “At one of my jobs, as head of concierge, I only had a landline to work with which was quite limited and problematic. There was an urgent need of additional communication equipment and requesting the managers time and again was not proving to be fruitful. So, I directly brought it up during the department meeting and it was then that permission was granted. My team was given a desk, a computer and two runner phones which helped us in operating smoothly.” recalls Reez.

He also says that it is often the case that employees of an organisation have suggestions or ideas, but they choose to hush it up as they worry about not being taken seriously. “One thing I realised was that even as a trainee or a fresher, if you want to stand out of the crowd and be noticed by your seniors, you need to learn to take the road less travelled. If you feel like your skills and time are being taken advantage of, learn to put your foot down and get your concerns across rather than pretending to be okay with ill-treatment.” adds Reez.

The headstrong, budding hotelier also remembers the time he went through several rounds of interviews as a fresher for a job. After a tough couple of conversations with directors of various departments, he was told he got the job, but then his contract was downgraded to that of an intern. He was confused and upset, but he took it up as a challenge. In just a matter of a few months, he was given the responsibility of managing the interns and employees in his team. “I think you just need to have confidence in the skills that you have. If you, yourself are unsure of what your strengths are, people won’t take your suggestions or concerns seriously.” advises Reez.

After spending a few years in the hospitality industry Reez has now distilled a few nuggets of advice for youngsters planning to take up hospitality as a vocation. “Protocols, services and recipes come from a book, but hospitality comes from the heart. One of the most important things I have learnt at home is that criticism is to be taken seriously, but not personally. If there is merit in someone’s feedback, learn from it or else let it roll off of you,” he says.